Chairman of the Presidential Universities Needs Assessment Committee and Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, stated yesterday, after more than three hours of meeting between the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and the government team at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), that they failed to resolve their differences.
Suswam, however, expressed optimism that the issues would soon be resolved going by the progress made so far, especially with another round of negotiation on Monday.
“Well the meeting continues next week Monday. We made some progress, we had very fruitful discussion with ASUU and we have agreed that we are to meet again on Monday at about 3 p.m. When we meet again, we would be able to arrive at some decisions,” he said.
According to a statement released by the Special Adviser on Media to Benue State Governor, Dr. Cletus Akwaya after a meeting in Abuja last night at the Benue Governor’s Lodge Asokoro, Suswam expressed optimism that the strike would be called off soon.
Although implementation of the NEEDS report is just one of the many demands of the striking union, negotiations will continue with the consideration of other aspects of the lecturers’ demand. The matter on earned allowances would be tackled at the next negotiation meeting next Monday.
“The Technical Committee chaired by Dr Banfa, a nominee of ASUU, had proposed in its report that the N100billion be shared to all the 61 federal and state universities in the country for intervention in the areas of rehabilitation and construction of lecture theaters and lecture halls; renovation and construction of libraries and laboratories and rehabilitation and construction of hostels,” the statement read in part.
“According to Banfa, the 61 universities were categorised into four based on the size of students enrollment saying the categories depended on the university with 30,000 students and above; 20,000 students and above; 15,000 students and 10,000 students and above respectively.”
“Each of the universities would then be given its share of the fund to apply in the projects already identified in the needs assessment report for immediate implementation” it added.
“In adopting the report, Suswam said everything would be done to avoid bureaucracy in the award of contracts for the identified projects so that the campuses will immediately witness a new lease of life with the coming on stream of the new projects.”
Suswam said President Goodluck Jonathan had agreed to commence the construction of projects under the N100billion stimulus package in a university to be selected to symbolise the commencement of construction work in all the universities.”
Present at the Implementation Committee meeting were Ministers of Education Prof. Ruqqayatu Rufa’i and Nyesom Wike, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu and representatives of other education funding agencies of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), NNPC, PTDF, NITDA, NCC, TetFund and ASUU.